Running on Empty

This past Sunday  I was on my way to pick up my kids from their dad’s when I stopped to get gas, a mundane activity for most, but typically a stressful one for me–stressful due to my own procrastination. I rolled into the gas station as my dashboard informed me that I had ONE mile left to empty. I had used Google Maps to calculate the ride home and I knew I had exactly enough to get to my exit. This is not a rare occurrence. This happens way more often than it ever should, but it wasn’t until this past Sunday, Mother’s Day, that I realized that this terrible habit is pretty reflective of how I live my life.

A few days prior to this incident, I had let my mom and sisters know that I wasn’t coming down for Mother’s Day brunch because I was “”running on empty”, it turns out I was doing so both figuratively and literally. I push myself to keep going, to say yes, to jump from one thing to another, to get the job done and get it done well and to be everything to everyone, all without coming up for air. This is my life, my mode, my normal. The busyness provides purpose. Being idle makes me nervous.

But I’ve been struggling a lot lately. I’ve been struggling with my depression and anxiety, but most predominantly with my need for perfection.

I’m not sure what triggered it or how it crept back in, but it’s here and it’s big and loud and stubborn. I worked so hard to be ok with my imperfections, to embrace the chaos and to understand that life is really freaking messy, but here I am again. Here I am, becoming more and more frustrated at my unhealthy thoughts, at my inability to control my emotions and at my “laziness” when I struggle to find motivation.

Here I am. Off balance. Off-kilter. Trapped. Trying to find my way out again. Realizing that finding my way out requires different tools each time. It requires retraining my mind. Convincing myself that I am not a horrible employee/mother/friend/sister/daughter/girlfriend. Selling myself on the idea that being healthy does not require perfection. That things are not black and white. That trying my best is good enough. That healing takes time. And that taking care of myself is a necessity, not a luxury.

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